Parked While Intoxicated: Is It a Crime?

In the News

It may seem like a good idea to rest and sober up in a parked car after consuming alcohol or drugs. However, simply having control or care of a vehicle while intoxicated is a crime. Something to keep this in mind as we head into the long weekend!

A crime – even if the car’s not moving!

A police officer could arrest you if you have control or care of a vehicle while you’re impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

For example, this could happen if you’re in the driver’s seat, even if you’re asleep and the motor is not running.

You might even be considered to have control or care of a vehicle when you’re not in the driver’s seat. This could be the case if you’re using your car or its accessories, and there is a real risk that the vehicle could pose some danger. For example, a man who was sleeping in the passenger’s seat and who had access to the keys, which he had thrown behind the seat, was found guilty. According to the judge, there was a risk the man could wake up and decide to start driving.

The consequences can be serious

The consequences start from the moment you’re arrested. Your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of up to 90 days, depending on the circumstances. In some situations, your car could be seized at your cost for 30 or 90 days. You will also be taken to a police station to provide a breath sample.

If you’re found guilty, you could receive a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The minimum sentence is a fine of $1,000. You’ll also lose your driver’s licence for one to three years. The penalties will be even harsher if you were previously found guilty of a similar offence or your blood alcohol level was very high. You’ll also have a criminal record.

You can consult a lawyer if you are facing criminal charges.

For more information, see our article Drinking, Drugs and Driving: Crimes